|August 26, 2010|
|2001 PRSA President Wants Non-APR Candidates|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Kathy Lewton, 2001 president of PR Society of America, said accredited PRSA members allow only themselves to be national leaders but very few of them ever show up when nominations are open.|
“I can’t remember the last time, maybe 20 years, when there were at least two candidates for every board seat and every office,” she told the Assembly e-group Aug. 24.
“It seems curious that there is such concern about protecting this ‘right’ when so few choose to exercise it,” she added.
Lewton noted that there are nearly 4,000 PRS but the “APR community” does not seem able to turn out even 12 candidates (two for each of six board seats) each year.”
The nominating committee has to “hunt for candidates after the deadline or simply ratify the solo candidate running,” she noted.
Unopposed this year were Phil Tate, candidate to repeat as treasurer; Prof. Kirk Hazlett for the Northeast district, and Linda Burkley for the Mid-Atlantic district.
Tate and Hazlett got the nominations but Burkley lost to Steve Grant when Grant, having lost a bid for secretary, decided to remain on the board for another two years. He took the board seat nomination sought by Burkley.
Under a bylaw passed last year, directors can serve four years in a row and return to the board after skipping a year.
Since the APRs are proving to be so uninterested in leadership, Lewton said, “it is incumbent upon all of us, as leaders, to open up the process to any qualified member and let the nomcom do its work in making the best choice?
Signatures Dry up for “Democracy” Committee
The Committee to Promote Democracy at PRSA has hit what appears to be a stone wall in its bid to let non-APRs on the board.
Its proposal would require that any non-APR show at least 20 years in PR in posts with “increasing levels of responsibility.”
The same proposal was defeated by the 2009 Assembly by a vote of 142-111.
Only two signatures have been added in August to the electronic petitionthe CPDP is circulating, the last one being added Aug. 17. Total in the past four months towards a goal of 1,000 is 354.
Only two of the 110 chapter presidents have voiced support of the CPDP—New York and Los Angeles.
No chapter has conducted a binding vote on the issue by rank-and-file members.
The Society’s APR leadership has not allowed online or in print Tactics to mention the CPDP nor use the 21,000-member e-mail list to reach members.
CPDP member Art Stevens said in the e-group that the CPDP’s proposal would not “devalue” APR.
However, the APRs have rejected this argument, saying it would deal a possibly mortal blow to the 46-year-old program.
“Please allow this compromise to the present policy to pass,” Stevens pleaded in his e-mail. “The proposed bylaw change would continue to value APR very highly and at the same time allow qualified Society members to become leaders.”
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